Without Caveat – Being Yourself

Without Caveat – Being Yourself

Photo By: Ilze Lucero

I was raised by parents who were very into ‘new age’ culture. If you aren’t familiar, think things like keeping amethysts around for their healing powers, belief in any of the zodiacs and their descriptive and predictive power, spiritual healing, burning incense and all manner of now frowned upon behaviors for being not-fact-based. I’m not saying my parents believed in all of those things, I’m just trying to give you a frame of mind for the culture. Of course, in his defense, my father is old enough that he had genuine claim to the title hippy without being a hipster about it. Far out. If it weren’t for this sort of eclectic upbringing I think I would have been a lot more vulnerable than I already am, by virtue of being a human being, to group think.

Why do I have that opinion? Because despite abjectly finding the idea of the healing power of crystal points humorous, I very much like how they look. Actually my youth started a life long obsession with mineral specimens in a Kantian disinterest sort of way. I like how incense smells, I don’t think it’s going to help bring me to some higher plane of thinking over some light meditation. As for the zodiac, that’s a punchline I’ll get to later.

Image result for blue crab

I actively hid these things about myself for a long time during and after puberty. I enjoyed these things, but not in the same sort of way my parents enjoyed them, and the sort of people my parents were, was being made fun of. Those are a few critical years of trying to fit in with your peers so I carefully considered answers to questions about my interests. Joke was on me though, I never ended up fitting in anyway. That was an easy lesson I somehow managed to ignore. Hiding my interests didn’t change me from being the sort of person that would be interested in them, and that person wasn’t particularly popular in high school.

I had actually managed to spend so long denying my interests that I forgot about them for a period of time. Love of minerals was one standout survivor but even that was kept pretty low key, that is, until I met Emily and started buying her jewelry. Emily seemed surprised I was so interested in buying these things for her. I mean, while the diamond necklace I had snuck into her high school on valentines day was a shock, it was also sort of expected, they’re diamonds and it was valentines day. I however, also bought her a range of earings and necklaces ranging from rubies to opals, a full gamut from precious to semi-precious. I had an outlet. It was however, something I still kept from most people.

The culture that really buys into those things seemed to be getting weirder and weirder. Colloidal silver and tinctures and anti-vaccinations had entered that area and I really didn’t want to be associated with them by having too many similar interests. I don’t despise those people, as seems popular to do these days. I would like it if drunk driving were met with half the energy devoted to the publicly acceptable shame and outrage, alas that still seems to be an angry-behind-closed-doors sort of thing. Still, I didn’t want to be associated with that crowd, and I thought expressing my interests in quartz points, tea, and incense would have left me defensive over it.

Then my daughter arrived. She got older. She turned three. Some time during that third year, by chance encounter, I stumbled upon one of those new age stores. They were having a moving location sale. My daughter and I were alone in the mall, which was a rare event. I think I was explicitly taking her on a date. I remember having reasons for it. Ah, that’s them. I will save those for a future post, they’re worth a future post. Daughters man, there’s something magical and frightening about them. Anyway, we were on our date and I see this relic from my own past, changing locations, deep discounts, meaningful ones, like half-off minimum. It was a liquidation. So we went in. After much looking around, my daughter fell in love with this sphere of gypsum. That’s all it was, plain jane ball of polished gypsum, it must weigh 3 pounds. It has a cats eye feature in it, and she absolutely fell in love with it the moment she set her eyes on it. That in turn, brought back memories of being in these sorts of stores with my parents, and that made me even more in love with her.

After I explained to my daughter that it wasn’t a toy, that she could easily break it, and that it was mostly going to be for looking at and having agreed to those terms, I purchased it and we got some ice cream and set back out for home. I took her shiny paperweight and set it up in a prominent position in her bed room so that she would see it all the time. Then I thought about myself and where I’d been the last decade or more. Out came my rose quartz candle holders, my oil fragrance burning apparatus, the tea candles that go with, I ended up going back and buying a wooden incense holder for the stick variety and ended up getting plenty of things to burn in it.

As chance would have it I was conversing with one of my older friends and somehow the subject of the zodiac came up. It was a gaming related context. Our group had been crustacean themed for some years now, and in the back of my mind was the information that I was a cancer, but until then that sort of thing was met with derision even from me. The song making fun of horoscopes by Weird Al was something of a favorite of mine growing up. But then we looked into it, and boy was I ever a cancer. I know I know, astrological sign descriptions are supposed to be vague to the point of applying to everyone, but this thing was dead on in ways that even surprise my friends. That doesn’t mean I “believe” in the zodiac, but the entertainment value given the theming of my gaming group was and remains high. Point of fact, neither of my wife’s signs—cusp baby—describe her in the slightest.

This all came to a head very recently when someone started criticising me for using an astrological sign to describe my personality. “Consummate cancer”, I told them. They droned on and on about things I already knew and didn’t care about. The lack of scientific evidence that they were efficant and blad-de-blah science I know. This person seemed to take it personally that I could find joy or entertainment in something not based on science while possessing the knowledge that not only was it not scientific but that it was a bunch of bullcrap. This interaction happened in the same culture that’s made Harry Potter a global phenomenon and devotes precious electricity and compute resources to making fan-theory videos about all sorts of fictional characters and universes. Hey, at least amethysts actually exist.

Seriously guys, why? You do you though.

Then it hit me. Our culture has become one where we are hypersensitive to our differences, rather than what we have in common. I’ve learned to turn these interactions around with my own sort of pointed ridicule. I don’t know what sort of joyless planet liking shiny rocks or freshly crystallized bismuth is frowned upon on but please leave mine. Anyway, the crux of the problem is focusing on the wrong sort of thing. Now there’s all sorts of reasons and causes for this. We know through our studies of social media that these platforms directly encourage social signaling and outrage culture in their participants. Heck, I left Facebook over the obviousness of that phenomenon, among other reasons.

So that sorta brings me to my main point, and the title. I think it’s pretty important that we do what we can as individuals to get over minor differences of opinion when faced with the temptation to socially signal about it. On the other end, and I’ve seen a lot of people do this and I’m just as guilty, don’t frame your likes behind caveats, justifying your likes isn’t something reasonable people should be asking you to do, though there seems to be plenty of that going around. Now, social signaling serves an important function, don’t get me wrong. Social signaling helps us determine our societies overarching values and guiding principals as a whole and it is key to doing so as a social species. Social media however has allowed us to start micro-managing social signalling into areas that don’t really matter, and that needs to stop, or at the very least be sharply reduced. Try and be aware of what really matters when tempted to judge or dog pile people. Though, a few internet memes sums all these words a little more succinctly.

XKCD
Maximumble

Coffee Secrets & Blog Roundup

Coffee Secrets & Blog Roundup

Hey everyone. Boy has today been an issue for writer’s block, and I still have a hell of a review to drop tomorrow. Figured I’d take a break and do something fun with some odds and ends. Also I’d like to plug a few bloggers\creators that have really caught my attention over the past couple of weeks and deserve a look.

First, we’ll go into the coffee thing, as that seems to make the writing world go ’round. This would be ‘one simple trick’ click bait if I put it in the title but it is absolutely and 100% true. Grind your own beans. Just do it. Get a burr grinder, start buying whole beans, start wondering why you suddenly like coffee brands you used to think were gross. So why is that? Coffee oxidizes over time, whole bean or otherwise, and starts losing its flavor and tasting bad. This is one of the reasons coffee is vacuum sealed and most of the containers it comes in can be closed again. Problem is that grinding the beans massively increases the surface area for this process and accelerates it. Keeping the beans whole for as long as possible prior to use is the singular best way to preserve freshness. We use the Cuisinart DBM-8 and right now you can get it for about half what we paid. Forget my normal penchant for graphs, facts, and figures and just trust me on this one if you have any love at all for good coffee. There’s a lot you can do to make it better, but I think this is the biggest and easiest.

So now for some shout outs, in no particular order.

First I’d like to give some props to Felicity and her amazing information-packed website for helping me bridge some gaps in my understanding of silicone firmness ratings, and for running a swell review site in general. You should check her out if you’re into vibrators especially, because that’s not so much our thing and she’s got much better coverage in that general area. Felicity is very thorough in her work.

The next one is a very recent discovery, and dovetails nicely with my last couple of blogs about transferring skills to children. In Dianes Kitchen is a digital cookbook full of all sorts of fantastic ideas running from desserts to appetizers to side dishes and main entrees. It’s going to be a go-to for “what do you feel like for dinner”

Next we have Ashley Dannielle, an erotica writer that I really think nails the style and truly gets how to communicate a sexy situation while giving you just enough wiggle room in the details to fill in the blanks rather than getting bogged down in detailed techniques that would detract from the experience. Ashley knows sexy, and she’s also recently joined the ranks of sex toy reviewers and is doing a pretty bang up job there too. Check her out.

Need a fun project to do with your kids? Are you of the outdoors persuasion or maybe you just like being self-sufficient? Well at basically 10 millions subs, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of it before, but I’m going to make sure. Check out the Primitive Technology channel on YouTube for some fun do it yourself diversions. As someone that spends a great deal of time smoking meat, the charcoal videos are my favorites.

These next two, well you seem to rapidly meet a lot of interesting people when you dive into the world of sex toy reviews and romance/sexuality self-help. Both are cam girls and while a lot of people seem to think they can end the description right there nothing could be further from the truth. These are creative, hard-working, conscientious people.

First up is Keri Berry who I never imagined or intended on getting to know beyond her work with some delightfully sized sex toys. Emily and I had actually seen her posts a while back on various image boards and especially on the r/BadDragon sub, and I forget why, it was blog related, but we were in her profile one day and noticed she had started a …discord server? Well that was odd to say the least but Emily was all about it, and she joined it. I remember her excitedly telling me that it was something so much more than another place to promote her work. “Henry you should really check this out, these people are so cool and Keri is super chill” well, something along those lines anyway, close enough. I was actually a bit suspicious but at Emily’s urging I checked it out and uh…well it’s a damn community over there. I’ve had to change a lot of embed settings in discord to force it safe for work but it’s one of my favorite places to shoot the shit now. Keri has given us both a lot of insight into the world of caming and we’ve been confronted with the reality of how much work and creativity is required to make something of yourself in that business. You can find the discord link—and many other things—in the reddit user link I put on her name at the beginning of the paragraph. Super NSFW.

Next up is Tawney Darling whom I discovered on twitter. What doesn’t this girl do? She reviews sex toys—that’s how I encountered her—runs a blog, and has written books, just to name a few things, and that’s all in addition to her cam work. What really struck me was her blog, Open Bobs BB, and a book by the same name. Yes, I am picking that up and I am reviewing it, it will probably be a big breath of fresh air from the last 3 did-not-finish books. If you think that’s an odd name for a book or blog or both, go take a look at the about page.

Of course now that I’ve started getting to know these people my entire Twitter feed has become NSFW…..ah well I’ll deal, it’s for a good cause, and it’s inspired some large think pieces for my blog that I think everyone can enjoy. Well, that about wraps it up for today, I’ve gotta get back to work on that Hookah review so I can have it up by tomorrow morning. If I left you out don’t worry, I think this blog roundup thing is going to be a regular occurrence for a while, at least until I run out of cool people to talk about.

Blog Updates

Our normal post schedule, insofar as it is scheduled, has been disrupted by some classic whole-house-sickness that’s crippled basic operations over here.

We’re still having trouble deciding on a good audio format, not because of lack of ideas but because there are 3 or 4 we really like and we’re having a hard time choosing. If there’s an audio format you’d be interested in put it in the comments, now is the time for feedback. Otherwise I’ll just pick one 😛

Tell you what though. One format we aren’t considering is ‘talking head’. Whatever format we’re deciding on is going to involve other people.

We uh…got greedy. We’ve started receiving the sexy items we ordered earlier and that number has gone up to eight! The blog is gonna have a sexier tone for a while.

Between sickness and focus on my last review the book reading ventures haven’t been coming along as fast as I’d like. That might be the books fault, these might make it on the did-not-read pile, which would be a first. Normally I can power my way through one in an evening. I’ve had these over a week and one of them is like pocket-reference sized.

Circling back to the audio. That’s the biggest thing on our minds right now. We’re both nervous and excited to get that off the ground.

Upcoming Stuff, Updates

So far I’ve been using the rules of the WP reader to keep NSFW images from popping up in y’alls feeds since we have a lot of mixed content here. My next feature length post won’t be able to avoid that, there are too many pictures. It’s nothing too bad, just some inanimate objects you probably don’t want showing up in a work context. So I’m planning to drop that piece on Saturday and I think you should look for it. It’s not going to be boring!

On a related note, we pulled the trigger on that unicorn horn shaped dildo from Bad Dragon. That should be arriving in a few weeks.

I’m currently reading two books at the same time because one is witty and the other is really dry. One is Getting To Yes and the other is If You Are In My Office It’s Too Late. So those are the book reviews that are coming. Most of my time recently has been spent on the post mentioned above.

Although we love Bad Dragon to death, we’re going to be exploring items from some of the other fantasy toy manufacturers soon. We’re looking at items from Pleasure Forge, Twin Tails, Dread the Empire, and Primal Hardwere[sic].

We recently crossed 30 subscribers and I’d like to thank all of you for following us. I remember being concerned about getting 5. It means a lot.

Nothing to announce yet, but I’m looking at the idea of doing audio in a group discussion context. Let me know if you’d like to see err, hear that. You’ll be hearing a lot more from Emily directly that way. She likes how I write so much she doesn’t do it herself >_>. Until next time.

D-Score Case Study: A Tale of Two Apollos

D-Score Case Study: A Tale of Two Apollos

So we’ve gone over D-score before, how I arrived to the conclusion to use it as a measurement and why. Meet the reason I felt like it was absolutely necessary to have. I encourage you to read that article if you haven’t already, but if you don’t have time, D-score is the percentage difference between the girth of a toy (in area) and the girth of the median penis (1.67 square inches for the curious).

This is Apollo, another dildo from Bad Dragon. Yes, both of them. This isn’t a review however, this is a story, a story of measurement and expectations. We purchased the first one—the larger of the two—while Emily was pregnant with our last son. I don’t know how many of you have ever heard rumor of or experienced the sometimes ravenous sexual appetite of a third trimester pregnant woman at its peak but that was Emily all over and all the time. Emily had some big eyes then, and her vagina was extra cooperative because well, it was getting ready to pass a baby through it. We both immensely enjoyed her large Apollo after it arrived.

Then the baby came, and the six weeks of sexual layover that go with. We didn’t really wanna jump back in to the large toys right away even though we’d been cleared for sex by her GYN. Somehow, neither of us thought she’d be taking into account a giant toy with a 3 and a quarter inch diameter knot. Eventually we gave it a shot. She couldn’t even get the head in. We kinda anticipated this, vaginas are kinda magic and if you wait the appropriate amount of time after having a child well, sometimes it was uncomfortably tight, no complaints. So Emily slowly worked her way back up to being able to take the big boy, and let me emphasize, it was work. We both loved Apollo, I for the aesthetics and Emily for how the aggressive texturing that caused that aesthetic felt inside her, but Apollo was work now, the prep time was pretty lengthy, and we thought we might do better with the same toy but another size down the chart.

On that note. Here’s the chart.

Diameter of HeadDiameter of Knot
Large Apollo3 Inches3.25 Inches
Medium Apollo2.25 Inches2.5 Inches
Apparent Difference+33%+30%

So lets talk about that apparent difference. When we look at numbers like that, our brains tend to think linearly, it’s really just natural, even if you know that’s a geometrically scaling number, your brain just compares how much bigger one number is than the other. It’s a thing. We don’t think in volume like that.

We decided we were going to participate in the absolute madness that is the Bad Dragon Black Friday sale. If the company needs to improve anywhere it’s here. The event is always marked by frustrated customers who could never get the site to load as everyone makes a mad dash for the literally one-of-a-kind creations at 60% off and the site breaks under the load. Emily and I had three computers going just to make the attempt. We saw an Apollo in medium with an adorable coloration and we pulled the trigger immediately. Somehow we got it in the cart and hit purchase before the hold timer expired on the item (if that happens it goes back on the website and other people can grab it).

A little while later, our medium Apollo arrived and….what? I spent a lot of time trying to get the true difference in size to show up in the photo, but it has to be seen to be truly appreciated. I ended up weighing them just to try and communicate this to our readers. The medium Apollo is 500 grams (1 pound 2oz), the large is 1.2 kilograms (2 pounds 10.5 ounces).We thought we might have been the victim of some sort of mix-up, surely this was actually a small. We broke out the tape measure and sure enough, this was a medium. The length, head, and knot circumference all matched perfectly. The large sat there, dwarfing it, and we were concerned it might have been a bit too small to give Emily the feeling she’s accustomed to from that toy. It almost was. It takes a few days of regular use and gratuitous amounts of cum lube for Emily to hilt the large Apollo, and it’s a fun couple of days let me assure you, but with the medium, double penetration is on the table. Not complaining, but those are worlds apart experiences and it didn’t meet our expectations (Fortunately the medium Crackers we got in the same sale was the perfect size for this, more on that toy in the future).

This occurred during the planning phases of this blog, and I knew I’d need to come up with something to save any potential readers from the same trap. And that’s when we came up with D-Score. Let’s try that table again, comparing the two toys, but with D-score instead of diameter. We’ll throw the weight in as well.

Medium ApolloLarge ApolloApparent Difference
Head D-Score2.44.2+76%
Knot D-Score35+70%
Weight500g1200g+140%

Now that conforms with our experience a lot more closely. The difference in those two sizes is huge, and if you just look at diameter you could be tempted to think it was a minor bump, just the slight reduction we were looking for, but the D-score makes it clear, this toy is flirting with being twice as large as it’s medium counterpart in felt size.

You might not be as interested in the process of making dildo reviews this nerdy as we are, but I hope you at least had some fun with this post, if not got some useful information from it.

Have a comment or a question? Is there a topic you’d like discussed? Let me know through my contact page.

Collection of Small Stuff

It’s that time again, a collection of small blurbs that are worth sharing but not worth their own post.

It’s February, and you know what that means, the 14th is coming. My e-mail has been getting blasted for days already with offers from various sex toy stores and other Valentines day related business like lingerie stuff.

Bad Dragon has released their valentines day colors, the pink has caught my eye, but I think I’ll be skipping this round.

Tantus also has some valentines day deals going and has released a new item that I’m tempted to take for a spin. It looks like Tantus has realized that they can get away with doing more interesting shapes. Magma looks genuinely tempting.

Don’t forget to check out your favorite shops for bedroom and romance items, because I bet if they’re going to do sales they’re already doing them.

The whole house has the flu. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

A new book review is coming but I can’t decide which one I wanna read first. It’s either going to be 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson or Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury. I’m leaning towards Getting to Yes.

Our next toy review will be this weekend so look out for that.

Until next time.

Have a comment or a question? Is there a topic you’d like discussed? Let me know through my contact page.

Things We’re Watching

Not everything I want to post deserves its own stand alone. Here are some of the small things we’ve been taking a look at that don’t rate their own post (yet).

Sex Dolls Keep Making Headlines

There’s an article over at The Sun that’s taking a look at the lives of three men who decided to become long term companions with very expensive sex dolls. While the article seems to focus on the weirdness and the laughable idea that these are dangerous to real women, I was more interested in the fact that all three of these men, having purchased an object specifically to act as a sexual proxy, all did things like feed, dress, and cuddle their dolls. I don’t think it’s lack of sex that causes someone to drop over 6,000 pounds on a silicone facsimile of a woman, it’s the lack of companionship. I think it says a lot about our assumptions of the male motive in a relationship.

Satisfyer Pro 3 Vibration Released

Emily and I have been keeping one eye on the Satisfyer concept for a while now, we’ve just never pulled the trigger. The original and best selling concept was simple, use pulses of suction instead of traditional vibrations to simulate an oral experience. There are lots of reviews and praise out about the results. We’ve never pulled the trigger on these items despite our curiosity. The third generation of these products goes hybrid, and adds traditional vibrations to sucking pulses. We’ll be pulling the trigger on this soon.

Book Reviews

I’ve almost made it through the pile of books I’ve read prior to launching this blog. I’m looking forward to getting more reading done. Book reviews are by far my most popular posts so I know y’all are looking forward to them as well.

NSFW Images In Feed

Had a reader alert me to this shortly after our review of The Vamp. I’m still learning some of the details about how WordPress picks images (or doesn’t pick them) for the reader feed. Apologies to anyone who got an eye-full of silicone dildo on their feed without warning. Emily and I are working on some branding tricks that should make this a thing of the past.

Amusing Antics From the APA

Apparently the APA could use the services of a harder science, like marketing. They’re currently engaged in a totally avoidable PR nightmare that psychology at-large could have done without. How about next time you simply call it “guidelines for achieving better therapeutic efficacy in men” or any of the other dozens of options that weren’t obvious dog whistles for pushing an agenda. The truth behind the intent of these guidelines no longer matters, they’ve been poisoned by terrible ttone deafness about their presentation. Sheesh.


That about wraps it up. Cya next time.

Have a comment or a question? Is there a topic you’d like discussed? Let me know through my contact page.